Worcester City Council Liveblog 6/2/09

7:10: We’re underway…

7:15: Saint Gobain is expanding in Worcester; they are also getting TIF, apparently.

7:26: Details on the expansion:

  • Total investment at 717 Plantation Street of $31,800,000 over 7 years
  • Convert 30,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space to manufacturing; construct 10,200 new space.
  • 41 new jobs during Phase 1; 15 during Phase 2. 51% of jobs or more to be taken by Worcester residents
  • Two-phased TIF plan over 15 year period. Phase one is various exemption percentages, averaging 61% over life

7:30: An update on the city’s plan to end homelessness.

“I believe we’re in a position today to truly deal with the issues around homelessness,” says Councilor Haller.

She says there will be “failures” and “we didn’t think ofs,” but says that there will be program accountability and effectiveness tracking.

7:34: Rosen says he’s surprised the faith community isn’t more involved in the list of member organizations in the leadership group for the effort.

O’Brien says he’ll take it under advisement. “Much of the script of what categories…should be represented was provided to us through the state’s effort.”

Rosen says citizens and the city can no longer fall back on a NIMBY attitude when it comes to where to locate “housing first” programs for formerly homeless residents. He admits he used to be guilty of it, but says he believes a new attitude is needed.

7:40: State budget. O’Brien says the “goal” is to have it on the governor’s desk by July 1; but that the schedule could run over, and leave the state to function under an “automatic” budget until a real one is passed.

Eddy says, “The news is not terribly good.” He says the Senate budget is much closer to reality than the House budget.

“Worst case budget…is much closer to reality.”

Ouch.

7:50: Councilors are clearly concerned about what the state budget means for cutting beyond the already slashed city budget. Round two of cuts, coming up soon….

O’Brien says the Senate is looking at the telecom loophole, but that the main proposal now may exclude equipment; a significant portion of telecom property values.

8:00: On the Quinn Bill front, O’Brien says that like most budgetary issues, it’s a matter of going to conference committee at the state level.

IF the state reduces their current commitment–called for under the Senate version of the budget—O’Brien said he’d be forced to try to go into more contract negotiations…but that it would definitely mean more cuts at the city side.

8:04: If budgetary recommendations come down after the last regular council meeting in June – not likely but possible – the council will hold a public meeting prior to their July 21 meeting.

8:05: Bottom line: The city is looking at a potential $4 million to $11 million in additional deficit, without possible revenues, depending on whether or not home rule petitions and municipal aid are passed.

8:18: Under suspension: Block Grant funding. We don’t have the numbers in front of us. City Council will approve, city officials will work to complete funding process.

8:29: Palmieri: Giving a heads up that he’s bringing up an order next week requesting that the annual allocation of street funding (at a 50-50 split between arterial and residential roads) be changed to another percentage. He wants to move to “another percentage,” with residential streets getting a larger percentage.

Clancy (Lukes asks why Clancy is talking if there’s nothing really being suggested for this week) says we need to open the box to have a full discussion about streets/sidewalks…the list of ones in need of repair…dollar figures…basically, the whole run.

He says a discussion needs to be had whether the list of recommended repairs should come from DPW or from the City Council…

Essentially, he says it’s not always a good solution to have the money divvied up between all the districts; it leads to some streets being too expensive to repair in certain districts.

So would the solution be to move to a politically decided system?

8:37: Eddy subtly slips in that he’d love to have the conversation(as would Smith) about the number of miles of road in each district.

8:40: Some talks on the pool efforts…O’Brien expects a full solution in place by June 15th

8:43: Smith asks for a report on the number of miles of road in each district.

8:45: Adjourned.

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2 Comments

Filed under city council

2 responses to “Worcester City Council Liveblog 6/2/09

  1. I invite you to my blog devoted to raising awareness on homelessness: Freethegods.com. There you will find an article I wrote on homelessness and pictures I have taken of homeless people. I always give them a dollar or two for the privilege of photographing them. I am often surprised by their cheerfulness and sense of pride. Often, they will show themselves to have some kind of talent. There is a fine line between genius and insanity.

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